Old Town, Prague

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    Portal of Unitarian Palace
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    Adria Palace
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    Adria Palace
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    Powder Gate

    by bpwillet Written Mar 16, 2004

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    One of the original entrances to old town in the 11th century, the Powder Gate (Prasna Brana) was begun in 1475 by King Vladislav II. It wasn't intended to be a defensive stronghold. It was decoratied to add to the already beautified city and was based on the Old Town Bridge tower designed by Peter Parler. It has been named the powder gate because of the use of it as a storage facility in the 17th century. Most of the sculputres on the gate were destroyed or removed during Prussian occupation. Designer Josef Mocker rebuilt the gate and added the gothic decoration you can see today. You can also go inside the gate and look from its gallery across the city. There is also a small exhibit.

    It is about 30KCZ to enter and is only open from April-October from about 10am-6pm.

    Medieval gatehouse-Powder Gate
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    Stare mesto ( old town ) - part 2

    by hundwalder Updated Nov 11, 2006

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    Old town square in Stare mesto is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Prague. With the exception of the winding road connecting old town square with Karluv most ( Charles Bridge ), most tourists are hesitant to walk more than two blocks outside of old town square. I don't know if they are convinced there is nothing worth seeing outside of this invisible envelope, or if possibly they are worried about getting lost on the unusually orientated streets, worried about getting mugged, or whatever. It is not possible to get lost with the great tower of Our Lady Before Tyn church in sight, and yes there are interesting things to see and do at every turn, and fascinating people to meet. Please don't be afraid to wander.

    The scene in the photo is located only about 250 meters north of old town square, in the direction of the Jewish Quarter. The people shown in the photo are locals, and the hotel / restauarant shown is patronized mostly by locals. By the way, Hotel / Restaurant U Zlate Studny is one of many well preserved early Baroque buildings in Prague. It was built during the Gothic era but redesigned centuries later. Intricately detailed relief sculptures adorn the front and it is capped with a scrolled facade. Each of the ancient buildings that you will see during your stroll through Stare mesto has features setting it apart from the rest. Take the time to enjoy it all.

    No tourist crowds in this part of old town
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    Havelske Trziste

    by Imbi Updated Nov 17, 2003

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    Havelske Trziste is one of the centres of attraction for most tourists. I would love to go there again as it was the place you find plenty of local foodstuff like seasonal home-grown fruit & vegetables, drinks and artwork, leather goods, flowers, wooden toys and delightful ceramics.
    It seemed to me that dry fruit were very popular there as plenty of people were buying them.

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    THE HANGING MAN

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2013

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    Prague was full of surprises!
    In Husova street was another one! Looking up, I saw some poor fellow hanging onto a beam with only one hand! He has been dangling above the street since 1997, and hasn't fallen yet!
    Thank- goodness it is just a fiberglass statue created by David Cerny.

    It is known as “the intellectual at the end of the millennium”.

    Hanging Man
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    Gothic Door

    by bpwillet Written Mar 17, 2004

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    What is really neat about the Old Town Square and most of Prague is that there are little things to see everywhere you go. This Gothic door was designed by Matthias Rejsek as the entrance to the Town Hall. The interior of this entrance hall has been decorated in mosaics done by a Czech painter known as Mikulas Ales.

    Rejsek's Gothic Door-Old Town Hall
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    STATUE OF WOODROW WILSON

    by balhannah Updated Jul 29, 2013

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    Across from the main Railway Station and situated in the park, I found this bronze monument of American President Woodrow Wilson.
    Why was he here in Prague? It turns out that he played a crucial role in Czechoslovakia’s independence. This isn't the original monument from 1928, the Nazis destroyed that in 1941.
    It is the new one from 2011, which also contains a time capsule containing historic documents inside the base of the statue. It is one of few statues of an American president on foreign soil.

    “The admiration of the people for him amounts almost to hero worship,” said byTomas Masaryk, Czechoslovakia’s first president.

    Woodrow Wilson
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    SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES

    by balhannah Updated Aug 22, 2013

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    Located in St. Giles Church, in a glass case, is Saint Martin De Porres, a dark skinned man, who was born in Peru in 1579 as an illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black woman who was a freed slave. Sadly, because of his skin colour, his father refused to take care of him and he was dependent on his mother.

    In 1586, he entered the Dominican convent in Lima as a lay brother. This was a very unusual occurrence, as a mulatto usually wasn't taken into a religious order in Peru, how-ever, Martín was considered an exception and became a Dominican lay brother in 1610. He was known and noted for his work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital caring for the sick during an epidemic and for setting up a shelter for dogs and cats. He had amazing ability to communicate with animals and also performed many miraculous cures on people.
    St. Martin was placed in charge of an infirmary when he was 34, this was where he stayed until he died of Typhoid at the age of 59.
    He was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized by Pope John XXIII.
    Saint Martin De Porres is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony.

    This is one of his miracles, known as "St. Martin and the Mice!"

    The story is quite famous.

    Mice had infested the Monastery's linen Robes, so they had to be rid of! The Monk's wanted to poison them, but St. Martin didn't, instead, he caught a Mouse...............

    And he said to the Mouse.... "Little brothers, why are you and your companions doing so much harm to the things belonging to the sick? Look, I shall not kill you, but you are to assemble all your friends and lead them to the far end of the garden. Everyday I will bring you food if you leave the wardrobe alone.
    ........Where-upon Martín lead a Pied Piper-like mouse parade toward a small new den. Both the mice and Martín kept their word, and the closet infestation was solved for good"

    I found this story interesting and the details of his life very interesting!
    Now I know why he is shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish.

    DID YOU KNOW
    The music video for the song "Like a Prayer" by pop singer Madonna features a saint inspired by Martin de Porres.

    St. Giles is open to the public from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm daily

    Saint Martin De Porres
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    STATUE OF CHARLES IV

    by balhannah Written Aug 5, 2013

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    I came across the Statue of Charles IV., the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, situated at the Knights of the Cross Square near the Charles Bridge. The monument was made on the occasion of 500th anniversary of the Charles University in 1848.

    I liked this attractive monument of a bronze Charles IV! The King looked quite impressive standing on a high pedestal, perhaps he was overlooking the River and the Charles Bridge. He is holding the Foundation Charter of the University in one hand, and his sword in the other. The pedestal is adorned with the faculty of theology, medicine, law and philosophy.
    The other statues on the monument are of Pardubice (the first Prague archbishop), Jan Ocko of Vlasim (the successive Prague archbishop), Benes of Kolovraty (he accompanied Charles IV. on his way to Rome for coronation) and Matthias of Arras (the first builder of the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle).

    Charles IV was known as the father of the country. He made Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and in 1348, he founded the oldest university in Central Europe – the Charles University.
    As I wandered around Prague, I found many places with his name to them.

    You will probably come across this Monument as it's located close to the Charles Bridge

    Charles IV Charles IV
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    Tyn courtyard

    by german_eagle Written Nov 16, 2005

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    A very nice place is the Tyn courtyard - located right behind the Tyn church. This courtyard is surrounded by nice old townhouses, among them a wonderful Renaissance palazzo with sgraffito decorated facade and tuscan style loggia.

    Several cute shops, galleries and restaurants (see my restaurant tips) add to the charm of this quiet oasis in the otherwise busy old town.

    Tyn courtyard - Renaissance facade with loggia
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    For fans of the macabre: a mummified human hand

    by JessH Updated Dec 14, 2010

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    Just off the Old Town Square is the church of St. James / Jacob (Kostel St. Jakuba)... this beautiful church is tucked away in a corner and is easy to miss.
    Every year thousands of visitors walk into this church, gaze up at the richly decorated ceiling, snap a few photos and actually miss one of the most intriguing aspects of this church: a REAL mummified human hand!

    Legend has it that a couple of centuries ago a thief tried to make off with jewels adorning the Madonna. The statue grabbed his arm and didn't let go. Apparently the only way to free him was to cut his hand off... and to this day it hangs by the door as a warning to anyone who may have "sticky fingers"...

    Walk into the church and immediately look up to your right... there it is!

    Entry to the church is free and it opens at 10am in the morning.
    The church was originally constructed in 1373. The Franciscans Order commissioned this baroque church in 1689 after its 13th-century predecessor had burnt down.

    (In this church we again found an all-seeing eye, the symbol of the Knights Templar (visible all over Prague). It's situated above the altar.

    Mummified human hand, St. James Church, Prague Baroque exterior of St. James Church, Prague Above the altar, St. James Church, Prague
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    clementinum

    by doug48 Written Jun 15, 2008

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    in 1556 emperor ferdinand I invited the jesuits to prague to promote catholism. they established their headquarters in the former dominican monastery of st. clement. they established a university in the 17th century. in 1773 the pope dissolved the order of jesuits and the university was secularized. today the clementinum is prague's national library. in clementinum's chapel of mirrors are frequent classical concerts that are open to the public.

    clementinum
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    st. gallus church

    by doug48 Updated Jun 17, 2008

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    in 1280 this church was built to serve prague's german community. the area around st. gallus was called gall's town. in the 14th century gall's town was incorporated into old town. in the 18th century the church was remodeled in the baroque style by giovanni santini aichel.

    st. gallus church
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    Traveling Solo? Take a walking tour

    by klmousseau Written Jan 6, 2009

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    I was there by myself in September and went on a "Free walking Tour".
    http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/prague-free-walking-tours-every-day.html
    they met on the "northern" edge of the Old Town Square by a brown sign on the building on a corner to the right St. Nicholas church. The tour is "free", but the guides do request a tip at the end.
    The tour was interesting and they bring you to a lot of places you wouldn't find on your own; PLUS you can meet other travelers!
    They also have pub crawler tours, check with the local info center on the route from the Powder Tower to the Old Square.

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    AT THE GOLDEN WELL

    by balhannah Updated Aug 9, 2013

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    I'm walking Karlova street and have come across a Burgher house with a beautiful Baroque façade.

    The house basements date to the 14th century and the building has been completely reconstructed several times. At the moment, the Baroque appearance from 1769 is still there.
    It's decorated beautifully around each window on the front façade. In the middle you can find gilded medallion with Our Lady and infant Jesus in a star. Above the star is a pair of angels bearing a crown and under it is a pair of lions, to the left is St. Wenceslas, on the right, St. John of Nepomuk. The first floor has St. Sebastian and St. Rochus, and the third floor St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Charles Borromeo. Above the window on the third floor is St. Rosalia.
    Very nice!

    These days, this building is known by another name - Hotel Aurus, a family run four star Hotel that is UNESCO listed. There are only 8 rooms, all have antique furniture and some the original hand painted ceilings. From the photo's on the website, it looks quite attractive on the inside too!
    If you do happen to come by car, there is a supervised car park approx 5 minutes walk from the hotel.
    Situated on Karlova street, it's just a short walk to the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge (5mins from the hotel) and the Prague Castle (20-minute from the hotel).

    Hotel Aurus Hotel Aurus
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    CLAM - GALLAS PALACE

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2013

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    Clam-Gallas Palace is known as a Baroque pearl and as one of the most beautiful Palaces in Prague.

    The name of the Palace intriqued me, so I just had to find out how it came about.
    It turns out the Palace was built for the Count of Gallas. Unfortunately, the Gallas family died out in 1757, so the Palace was left to Kristian Filip of Clam, the son of Gallas's sister, so the two names were joined together resulting in Clam-Gallas.
    The Palace is built in the style of Viennese Baroque architecture, and is decorated with a pair of Giants statues by both portals of the palace.

    The inside sounds marvellous! Imagine the Marble Hall, the former dance hall decorated with mirrors and crystal chandeliers, a place where balls were organized and important guest's like W. A. Mozart and his wife were among guests. Ludwig van Beethoven played a concert in this hall and he also dedicated some little musical pieces to the Clam-Gallas family.

    Now, the Clam-Gallas Palace twice a year holds a series of authentic historical Baroque concerts.
    The winter concerts are held inside the palace in the first half of February. The summer concerts are held from mid-August to early September outside in the courtyard.
    Opera Barocca performs in the palace in the evenings.

    As far as I know, this is the only way to see the inside of the Palace.

    Palace entrance
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